Ed Hawkins looks at game four in Mohali on Sunday morning after the Aussies hit back...
"India will make changes for this one with one eye on those issues. MS Dhoni is out, perhaps having played his last home ODI, with Rish Pant taking the gloves"
India v Australia
Sunday 10 March, 08:00
Indian fears realised
India have been pegged back after a surprisingly supine batting effort in Ranchi. Worries over their over-reliance on the vaunted front three of Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli proved entirely justified as they went down by 32 runs.
For some time there have been dissenting voices about India's top-heavy batting. What happens if the Big Three fail? Alarmingly, the biggest of the lot didn't and Kohli produced another masterclass with a consecutive ton. But no-one could help him out.
Vijay Shankar, for a spell, looked like being the man to accompany his captain in the chase of 315. But after Kohli went after one escaped under the bottom of his bat, the pressure became too much as those auditioning for World Cup spots fluffed their lines. Ravi Jadeja harmed his chances with a less-than-muscular show.
India will make changes for this one with one eye on those issues. MS Dhoni is out, perhaps having played his last home ODI, with Rish Pant taking the gloves. Mohammad Shami, the pacer, has a niggle so Bhuv Kumar could come in.
Khawaja and Finch shine
Australia will be feeling pleased with themselves even if they were below par in posting 315 from a position of immense strength. After Usman Khawaja and Aaron Finch had given them a terrific platform they really should have gone on to threaten 400.
That's been the problem with this Australia team for sometime. Their batting line-up doesn't scare teams and they consistently fail to put in a complete batting show. Either they lose wickets up front and the likes of Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis launch a rescue mission or they fail to put their foot on the gas.
Nothing wrong with the bowling, though. Pat Cummins and Jhye Richardson are a terrific new-ball pair and with Nathan Coulter-Nile, Jason Behrendorff, AJ Tye and Kane Richardson waiting in the wings for a pacy wicket they are very strong.
At the moment they seem content with two spinners. And why not? Adam Zampa picked up three wickets and Nathan Lyon was on the money.
Wicket stays true
Mohali under lights has been kinder to the side batting first down the years. But not by any margin to get excited about. It's 12 wins from 21. The last five first-innings scores (1-2 denote won by side batting first or second, most recent first) read: 392-1/285-2/303-2/257-2/298-2. It is a good batting wicket, though, and historically it has had a reputation for holding true and giving the chaser a good chance. Busting 300 would appear to be a minimum on those numbers.
Hoping for home edge in-running
India are steadfast on the market, refusing to budge over the [1.60] mark. That's the magic number for us as a rule. Australia are [2.74].
One would have thought there will be more takers of that latter price as the toss approaches so we might get some joy with India. Remember, they have not lost back-to-back home games in a series since 2013.
In an ideal world Australia will bat first and produce a topsy-turvy innings which gets India up to the [1.80] mark.
This is what happened in Ranchi. And then we can bet India to revert to type and be the supreme chasers that we know and love.
Rohit Sharma is out to 3/1 for top India runscorer after Kohli went stratospheric. We've betted Rohit twice and, of course, lost twice so we're in the last chance saloon. We repeat: he had a better hit rate on the top India bat market over the last two years than the great man and the price gives us a whopping edge. Those with good memories will know that this is the venue where Rohit produced his epic unbeaten 208 against Sri Lanka in 2017. Kohli whacked 154 not out against the Kiwis in the previous game.
Marsh still the man
A lot of love for Khawaja and Finch, particularly the later who desperately needed a score. Khawaja took the plaudits with his ton but Finch's 93 meant the Aussie selectors were vindicated by not bringing back David Warner immediately for the forthcoming UAE tour. Khawaja is 4/1 with Sportsbook for top Aussie bat Finch 7/2. Marsh, our Hawk Eye pick last time, is 7/2 and we have to retain faith given his strong form in the heat.